Published: 00:01 GMT Daylight Time - Sunday 04 April 2010
Praying for the Persecuted Church in Lent - From Suffering to Glory
“These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again. I know your afflictions and your poverty – yet you are rich! ... Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.”(Revelation 2:8-10)
Two days ago we reflected on the martyrdom of such faithful Christians as George Orjih and Danil Sysoyev. For some, martyrdom speaks of pain, anguish and suffering, but for the early Church, martyrdom spoke primarily of glory. To die well demonstrates courage, commitment and certain knowledge of Christ’s promise of eternal life. Those who endure pain and suffering for Him, who overcome the world and are faithful even to death, receive from Him the reward of the martyrs’ crown.
Thousands of Christians around the world suffer attacks against themselves and their property and many are martyred for their loyalty to Christ; yet they are commended by the Lord Jesus for their riches. The perseverance under pressure of persecuted Christians tells a moving story of their faith, hope and love for Christ. We thank God for the strong and devoted witness of the two men described above and for the many others like them who, through the proclamation of their faith in Jesus Christ, have earned the martyrs’ crown.
We have moved from Good Friday to the joyous experience of Easter and the resurrection hope that awaits all Christians. In Him we have a hope that cannot be taken away.